I have recently been wanting an old-time meal I remembered from childhood. The meal consisted of boiled rutabagas, country-fried potatoes and cornbread. Thursday I went to the neighborhood grocery and bought a big rutabaga and some Irish potatoes. Cooking the meal that evening was really easy. I simply cut the big turnip into large sections, dropping the sections into a pot of boiling water seasoned with salt, black pepper and a little lard. It took about an hour for the concoction to boil down producing very tender and savory rutabaga sections.
Country-fried potatoes have been a staple on farm tables in these parts for generations. This treat is simply sliced potatoes (I slice mine like little French-fries), diced onion, corn meal and lots of black pepper. After cutting the potatoes and onions, I tossed the concoction with some corn meal and coarse black pepper in a mixing bowl before frying in a black iron skillet. To make good country-fried potatoes, you need to cover the skillet so the potatoes are steamed as well.
I prepare my cornbread, not in the oven, but on the stove-top, pouring the batter in a greased iron skilled and flipping the bread halfway through cooking. There’s something about stove-top cornbread that makes the bread crispy on the outside and spongy on the inside.
I enjoyed my country supper with a big glass of sweet iced tea. The only thing missing from the meal was a generous slice of garden-ripe tomatoes. Hopefully this summer I can have this missing ingredient for the perfect country supper.